Philip Yancey has been a somewhat liberal, evangelical and influential voice in Christendom, writing about 'difficult' things. He likes to quote bits and use examples from Brennan Manning and various similar others who have been through destructive personal experiences and suffer addictions, even while retaining a high profile as authors and thought leaders.
It makes me want to ask whether our sin and failure is part of God's plan for us.
There's a line of theology that suggests Adam's fall was intended by God all along, in order that He might send Jesus to redeem humanity. Could this cycle of sin & failure, grace and restoration be something God actually wants for us - as this book strongly hints at - or are we actually called to live righteously and walk without sinning before God, as the letters from Peter among other parts of the bible suggest fairly unambiguously?
And that then leads to the obvious question of whether, If God intends for us to fail and need forgiveness, that is actually sin at all, since it's following the will of God?
p.s. It's not a book I'd say that I'm enjoying - full of beating up the reader over the failings of the North American Evangelical church to be generous and show grace or compassion. It's being a useful read, but not something for pleasure.
It has made me re-see Bicester Community Church, and how we were planted out as a community of grace through a gentle and gracious leader, and how that graciousness has been encouraged and protected over the years. There's a root of the same grace in Oxfordshire Community Churches too, that has fed the grace and helped it grow. A generous nature I appreciate all the more now.